Spotlight: Fadli M. Zaini

Fadli M. Zaini
Fadli M. Zaini

YSEALI members are making a difference. In the coming weeks, we will feature young leaders across the ASEAN region who have participated in YSEALI programs and show how joining this community has helped them grow professionally and personally.

Fadli M. Zaini, 19
University of Essex, England
Student, project manager and part-time journalist

At 19, Fadli M. Zaini has already achieved a lot. He has worked as a journalist for the Brunei Times, launched several projects, including TEDxGadong, Brunei’s first TEDx event, and started developing a social enterprise startup — all while working on his bachelor’s degree in England.

Fadli says it all goes back to his participation in the Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program (SEAYLP), a four-week program that brings secondary school students from ASEAN countries to the U.S. “There is something about going outside of your country borders that gives you a fresh perspective on things,” he says. “Meet[ing] others who were doing incredible things made me want to be a part of that community.” That inspiration is what led Fadli to continue his education abroad. And while he may already be thinking about his next big project after school, “that doesn’t mean my learning stops there.”

Fadli’s tips for success:

  • Whether it’s a project or a business plan, set your sights on several realistic short-term and long-term goals. Try to succeed in your goals as much as you can.
  • Find a partner or a colleague to advise and support you, preferably someone who is already familiar with your field.
  • Join business competitions and workshops — they will give you the startup experience and competitive edge you need.